Jen Liu and Elaine W. Ho
From: Elaine W. Ho
To: Jen Liu
Date: Wed, 18 May 2022 09:00:28 +0800
Subject: Re: Meet Sexy Asian Grief!
You prefaced this image with a smirk, knowing how it could be contextualized within this conversation. Maybe it's about ping-pong, or maybe it's about redefining Asian female representation—or both, and-and.
Thinking how to respond in 350 words matches the irony of Asian American + art being summed up as a series of blurbs and subtle calls to arms. Is it time to stake out a territory where Asian Americans have been all along? I think our responses, as artists who also happen to be Asian American, iterate a certain ambivalence about the question.
> I don't think I share your ambivalence. I think ambivalence is a feature
> of self-loathing, whereas multiplicity is a modern condition that Asian
> Americans got the advance beat on, by nature of diaspora.
>> ”Ambivalence” is not intended here with negative connotations. It is
>> about the ability to recognize the other, which characterizes
>> diaspora, multicultural existence(s). Although if it is a feature of
>> self-loathing, haha, that’s not so inaccurate either. Unfortunately,
>> my experience does tell me that self-loathing does play a large role
>> in Chinese—and maybe more so, colonized Hong Kong Chinese
>>> Remember how we re-established our conversation: a smackdown
>>> of European feminist media artists ping-ponging Trumpy China
>>> conspiracies within our shared listserv—dog-whistling hate
>>> against Asians in art solidarity circles? If identity defined in
>>> the negative is a given, I would argue that embodying “Asian
>>> American” is to accept continual social corrections to create
>>> the conditions of a (tolerable) existence.
>>>> I like that there can be multiple readings of how I
>>>> understand this “acceptance” of social corrections. Another
>>>> ping-pong between redress with others and negotiating with
>>>> ourselves? Forms of learning and unlearning characterize
>>>> all of us, but those in the minority have to fight more for
>>>> it. Another and-and, or a ping-pong that may require further
>>>> reading. We are simply here.